By Josh Lashley | CNBNews Sports
Gloucestercitynews.net--(GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ)-- The time of year that everyone from the athletes themselves to fans and coaches not only look forward to but, prepare diligently for has arrived-it’s football season.
A pair of local teams, Gloucester City High School and Gloucester Catholic High School have done their due diligence during those tough pre-season practices, workouts and scrimmages. Now it’s time to get the best possible results where it counts the most-on the field.
Let’s take a closer look at each squad:
The Rams are scheduled to begin the regular season with a home game versus Robbinsville on September 14.
Key returning student athletes to the varsity roster include Luke Van Auken (senior, wide receiver and defensive back), Brandon Madallion (senior, offensive line and defensive line), Joe Camarillo (senior, offensive line and defensive line), Jerry O’Donell (senior, linebacker and running back), Pat O’Neill (senior, offensive line and linebacker), Ben Watkis (junior, running back and defensive back) and Jason Ruggeri (junior, offensive line and defensive line).
Newcomers to the varsity roster include Brayden Foster (junior, quarterback, linebacker and safety), Dom McDermott (sophomore, offensive line and defensive line), Jeremy Hagan (sophomore, running back and linebacker), Hunter Parks (sophomore, defensive back and wide receiver), Kevin Thomas (sophomore, offensive line and linebacker), Zach Enley (sophomore, running back and linebacker) and Billy Viereck (sophomore, wide receiver and defensive back).
They compete in the West Jersey Football League (WJFL) United Division along with Pleasantville, Middle Township, Gloucester City, Buena and Lower Cape May.
“We finished at 3-8 last year, but we also had to give a game away last year to Robbinsville due to a forfeit, based on misunderstanding of a player’s eligibility,’’ Gloucester Catholic head coach Casey Murphy said. “We expect to be very competitive in our Division with big games on the road against Buena and Pleasantville who finished at the top of our Division last year.’’
The Lions will be in search of their first win of the season when they travel to face Clayton (0-0 record) on September 13. They were defeated by Haddon Township in the season opener for both teams on September 6.
Among the top returning athletes to the varsity level include Gavin Callahan (senior, quarterback and defensive back), Derron Cooney (senior, offensive line and defensive line), Nick Brandt (senior, offensive line and defensive line), John Metzinger (senior, offensive line and defensive line), Mike Capra (senior, linebacker and full back), Damien Dolson (junior, wide receiver and defensive back), Chris Dolson (junior, wide receiver, running back and defensive back), Steve Burkhardt (sophomore, wide receiver and defensive back) and Jaden Harris (sophomore, running back and defensive back).
Newcomers looking to be of positive influence at the varsity level include Kevin Mateo (sophomore, offensive line and defensive line), Henry Cannon (junior, wide receiver and linebacker), Keegan Farlow (senior, tight end and linebacker), Dan Blocker (junior, tight end and linebacker), Cody Bathurst (junior, wide receiver and defensive back) and Tyler Morris (junior, running back and linebacker).
Quality leadership is in ample supply for the Lions.
“Derron Cooney, senior captain-great leader on and off the field,’’ Gloucester City head coach Rob Bryan said. “He displays great character and commitment to his sport and his athletics and has a strong desire to play football in college.Nick Brandt, senior captain-vocal leader and is all about doing things right. He is a great leader by example. He committed himself to the weight room in the off-season and has broken into the 1,000-pound club (three lifts- bench, squat, deadlift combine weight over 1,000 pounds). The other two athletes who did this were Derron Cooney and Kevin Mateo.
“Keegan Farlow is another senior captain. He is vocal and gives all his effort every play. He is scheduled to go off to the Marines after high school.’’
The Lions also play in the WJFL United Division.
“We want to win our Division,’’ Bryan said. “We want to advance to the post-season and demonstrate growth in our program on and off the field. We want to perform at the highest level in terms of football, but also want to exceed our goals in the classroom and become best prepared for life after football.
“We have good football programs within our Division and though we are still rebuilding from the ground up, we look to be a contender. Buena was the Division winner last season and Pleasantville finished second.’’
The Lions are slated to travel to Pitman on September 20.
“Last season, we had a lot of new faces, new routines and new systems,’’ Bryan said. “But we worked very hard in the off-season to improve and I believe we will take another step forward in representing our community, school and brand of football.
“We still have a lot of young players. Last season, we started three freshmen. Now, all are sophomores, we are still young, but have varsity experience.’’
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